BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Rubie Williams wore a traditional dress from Ghana. Jacqueline Black’s new blue lace dress matched her corsage and blue eyes. Irene Bogucki and her daughter, Carleen Sweet, glided into the ballroom with floor-length gowns and fringed shawls.
The first Genesis Village Senior Prom on January 12 was an opportunity for the ladies and gentlemen to get dressed up for dinner, dancing and music by singer Matt Richardson.
It was also an opportunity for Anthony Wayne High School National Honor Society (NHS) members to give back.
As the senior citizens lingered in the hallways until the doors opened at 5:00 p.m., high school senior Sammy Stack directed her NHS peers in hanging resident-made snowflakes on an archway she built out of two-by-twos and lauan wood. The arch served as a backdrop for photos by student Alison Zajkowski and anyone with a cell phone.
Before changing into prom attire, the two teens surveyed the fully decorated ballroom, making sure all of their decorations were in place.
“We did all of the decorations and brought in donated desserts,” Sammy said.
A second team of student volunteers arrived, dressed and ready to pin corsages – donated by Third Street Blooms – onto the prom-goers.
“This is turning out exactly as I thought. They’re really taking ownership of this,” said Genesis Village life enrichment coordinator Kate Lankey.
Patsy Grant, waiting in the hall for her grandparents, Phillip and Jacqueline Black, wore a royal blue floor-length gown – the first time she’s worn a prom dress since graduating from Maumee High School in 1996.
The Blacks’ daughter, Lola Guillermo, and friend Jim Clark took photos as Phillip and Jacqueline fussed over corsages.
“Be back before midnight,” Clark teased Phillip.
Earlier in the day, Lankey wasn’t sure how many people would show up, as no RSVP was needed. As the first few women visited the Genesis Village salon to be made up, however, word got out. On-site stylist Rachel Rogers had help from life enrichment coordinator Deb Desrange doing hair, while Emma Jacobi, Tiffany Painter and Lisa Giesige did nails. Soon, the salon was jammed with customers getting ready for the evening.
“This is so much fun. They did our hair, nails and makeup. That was so special,” said Rene Hamilton, as she dined with friend Dennis Maxie. Across the table were Charles Ewing and Dorothy Boyd.
Ewing, who goes by the name Sir Charles the Crooner, has performed at retirement communities throughout Northwest Ohio. It gave him a perspective on what he wanted when looking to downsize from the Whitehouse home he shared with his late wife, Irene. They moved in shortly after Genesis Village opened in 2014.
“This is a special place. That’s why we chose to move here,” he said.
Genesis Village, located in a former hotel on South Reynolds Road, has 154 rooms and plenty of amenities for the 55-plus clientele, including a new indoor pool, a weight room, a chapel and scheduled activities.
For more information, visit www.genesisvillage.org or call (419) 720-1286.